Campaign ’07: who’s running?
June 30, 2007
Park City’s every-other-year campaign starts on Monday, beginning a five-month election season ending when voters in November decide who will serve in three of the five City Council seats.
It’s unclear what sort of campaign Election 2007 will become, though, with little talk so far even as the filing window looms. Parkites seem happy with the direction of City Hall and the candidates who have already announced their intentions to run have generally said they are pleased with the local government’s performance. They mainly say they want to help City Hall as it moves forward.
"We haven’t seen a huge public angst on direction in the city in a while," says Mayor Dana Williams, whose office is not on the 2007 ballot and who won re-election unopposed in 2005, in a campaign that also drew few candidates for the City Council and marginal interest from voters.
The seats held by Candy Erickson, Joe Kernan and Marianne Cone are on the ballot. Erickson and Kernan have said they will seek re-election. Cone has not decided but she is expected to declare her intentions next week. Liza Simpson and Kacy Quinley have said they will challenge.
People must file campaign papers with City Hall between July 2 and July 16.
Williams calls Simpson and Quinley, who have not sought City Council seats before, "some new faces."
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The campaign will likely resemble those of the post-2002 Winter Olympic era. They have generally been pedestrian affairs, with little controversy and the candidates sticking to well-established issues in Park City. This year, it’s expected the candidates will spend time debating traffic, the environment, growth and tourism, key issues City Hall regularly handles.
There does not appear to be a polarizing issue that will dominate the campaign. Traffic has left many Parkites and commuters dismayed and it will probably be one of the pivotal topics.
The candidates, so far, seem to acknowledge traffic is crucial to the upcoming campaign and it is unlikely one of the hopefuls will be able to distinguish themselves with a platform depending on fighting traffic.
It is expected that making Park City safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and others not driving cars will be discussed in some depth during Campaign 2007. The candidates could distance themselves from others by talking about what sort of changes they want to make to turn Park City into a more attractive place for people not driving cars.
Williams says he also expects the candidates to talk about lessening Park City’s impact on the environment, or making the community one that is known as ‘sustainable.’ The idea encompasses a broad set of programs and policies and many Parkites support City Hall’s efforts so far.
The mayor mentions traffic, including making neighborhoods safer, and affordable housing as what he sees being the most important issues in the campaign.
"It’s a pretty important one," Williams says about the election.
The campaign starts a few weeks early this year, a result of changes in state election laws that moved forward the filing window. If it is needed, a primary election would be held on Sept. 11, about a month earlier than is traditional, also a result of changes in Utah law.
City Councilman Roger Harlan, whose seat is not on the 2007 ballot, says he has not heard much political talk as the filing window approaches. He says, with at least two incumbents running for re-election, it might be tough for challengers and he predicts few candidates.
"I think it’s going to be a handful," he says. "It’s very possible we will not have a primary — just lack of interest."